OAKLAND -- Heroism comes in many forms. In baseball, on both sides of the ball. Together, Marcus Semien and Matt Chapman's work turned the A's into winners on Sunday afternoon.Chapman may have propelled them to a 3-2 victory with a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning to help them
OAKLAND -- Heroism comes in many forms. In baseball, on both sides of the ball. Together, Marcus Semien and Matt Chapman's work turned the A's into winners on Sunday afternoon.
Chapman may have propelled them to a 3-2 victory with a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning to help them take three of four from the Royals at the Coliseum, but it was only because Semien's defensive doings put him in position.
The solo homer off right-hander Jason Adam was Chapman's 10th of the season and followed a spectacular game-changing play by Semien in the top half of the inning. The A's shortstop made a diving stop on Salvador Perez's sharp grounder and nailed potential go-ahead runner Whit Merrifield at the plate to preserve a 2-2 tie.
"That's a really good runner at third going on contact," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "That's about as good a play I've seen him make since he's been here. To dive like that, get up and have to throw it off balance on the money like that, no legs underneath him … game winner."
Lefty Sean Manaea, lifted with one out in the eighth, was denied a win but turned in an encouraging outing with two runs and six hits allowed after posting a 6.63 ERA in his previous seven starts. He didn't walk a batter and struck out six, pitching past the sixth inning for the first time since April 27.
Closer Blake Treinen secured the final five outs, the first being the game's finest.
"It was an incredible play," Treinen said. "Chapman made a great swing, but that swing doesn't get us the win if Marcus doesn't make that play. [Jonathan] Lucroy and I were on the same page and we were trying to call a sinker there because he swung through a good one down the pitch before."
"You figure with the sinker from Blake that the ball can come your way pretty quick," Semien said. "Just reaction."
Lucroy's RBI single highlighted a two-run second inning for the A's, but the Royals were quick to match them, with help from the sun. Merrifield, awarded a double that fell in front of a blinded Mark Canha in left field, scored on a wild pitch, and Perez launched a game-tying homer with two outs.
By the time Chapman stepped to the plate in the eighth, the A's had squandered multiple scoring opportunities. Twice, they left the bases loaded. Then in the seventh, Dustin Fowler used his speed to record an infield single and race all the way to third on an errant pickoff attempt, only to be left there after Semien popped out and Khris Davis and Matt Olson both whiffed.
"You ease up just for a second after Davis and Olson," Melvin said, "and Chapman can bite you like he did."
The A's improved to 29-0 when leading after the eighth inning, after Treinen stranded a runner at third to end the game.
"It's a funny game," Melvin said. "It feels good, then it feels bad and the next thing you know it's good again. That's why you play all 27 and that's why you keep grinding on it. Now they're in a position in the last inning to tie it off a guy who's basically been spotless."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The same fan caught consecutive foul balls off the bat of Chad Pinder in the sixth inning.
HE SAID IT
"I thought he threw great today. That's the best we've seen him throw in a while. It's not always about the velo, but it's about the location and the life that he has on all his pitches. You were seeing some 92, 93s today. You were seeing some sliders that had a little higher velocity, changeups a little higher velocity." -- Melvin, on Manaea
The A's will enjoy an off-day Monday before resuming play Tuesday for the start of a three-game series with the Astros. Right-hander Daniel Mengden (6-5, 3.45 ERA) will be on the mound in the 7:05 p.m. PT opener at the Coliseum. Houston will counter with righty Lance McCullers (7-3, 3.94 ERA).
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB.